Posts Tagged ‘waste’

Apple screws its acolytes … yet again

January 12, 2016

Apple is about to rip off over every one of its customers. Yet again.

high end headphones 3.5mm gold-plated jack

high end headphones 3.5mm gold-plated jack

Apple likes to project a lovely cuddly trendy image.

The reality is different.

Their products are of shoddy construction.

Phones and tablets now lag behind Android devices.

Products are sourced from Chinese sweatshops, where the conditions are so bad, every worker has to sign a contract they will not commit suicide, the top of buildings are surrounded by fencing to stop the workers throwing themselves off the roof.

Android devices, be they phones or tablets, have a standard usb port. This means cables and chargers are interchangeable between devices. Indeed it is not even necessary to supply a charger, assume the customer has a charger, or will buy one. This reduces waste, reduces cost, reduces shipping costs.

Not though Apple. Apple has its own proprietary non-standard connector for tablets and phones, not only that, there is no commonality between earlier and later devices.  And if rumours are to be believed, Apple are to move away from the industry standard 3.5mm headphone socket.

headphone jacks 3.5mm and 6.35mm

headphone jacks 3.5mm and 6.35mm

telephone operators

telephone operators

1/4 inch gold-plated stereo headphone jack

1/4 inch gold-plated stereo headphone jack

The 1/4 inch jack (6.35mm) has a long history. It was used by Bell, Post Office to connect calls.  Look at old films, where you will see the operator connecting calls.

It has a long history. Maybe as far back as 1878.

With the advent of stereo, an extra ring was added.

For the transistor radio, the 1/4 jack was too big, the 3.5mm jack was introduced.  It was then used in the Sony Walkman, CD players, phones and tablets.

High end audio still uses the 1/4 inch jack for amplifiers,  CD decks, tape decks. Guitars use the 1/4 inch jack to plug into amplifiers and sound decks.

High end headphones, for example  open Sennheiser headphones,  use a gold-plated  3.5mm jack, which fits into a 1/4 inch jack.

Standardisation leads to interoperatability, reduces waste. But not if you are Apple.

Apple is showing its usual contempt for it acolytes by doing away with the 3.5mm jack, forcing to either buy an expensive inferior Apple product, or waste money on an expensive adapter to use existing kit.

If Apple acolytes are stupid enough to be ripped off yet again by Apple, forcing them to ditch their existing headphones, or now have two pairs for different devices, it will lead to a growing mountain of electronic waste.

According to the United Nations, up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped each year. We need to bring more care and attention to this growing issue — not aggravate it through reckless, profit-driven decisions that will deliver countless perfectly usable items straight to the landfill.

But what does Apple care about the environment? It does not care about the toxic materials used in the manufacture of its devices, harming people and planet.

This has not surprisingly caused growing outrage.

But it does not stop there. Apple makes it nigh impossible to repair their phones even going so far to use non-standard screws.

And if all this was not bad enough, they dodge tax.

So why do Apple do this? It is not technological innovation. It is greed, pure and simple, yet another opportunity to screw the consumer.

The approach taken by FairPhone is the opposite end of the spectrum to Apple. Better working conditions, conflict free materials, phone of modular construction enabling easy repair. And they do not supply either cable or charger, assuming you already have. The main criticism of their latest phone, FairPhone II, delivery of which has been delayed until at least February, is that it is somewhat dated for the high price.

In terms of performance and price, it would be hard pushed to beat OnePlus Two and OnePlus X.

Please sign the petition calling upon Apple not to jack in the 3.5mm headphone jack.


The Real Junk Food Project Brighton

April 20, 2015

How much would you pay for food in a cafe which does not have any prices on the menu? And how would you decide what the price should be, if you knew the food you were going to be served was originally destined for the bin? That’s the dilemma facing customers of a new wave of cafes opening around the country. — Juliet Stott, The Guardian

Following on from the success of Skipchen in Bristol and Transition Community Cafe in Fishguard the idea is spreading.

The concept is simple, intercept food that would otherwise go to waste and serve up as delicious food on a pay-what-you-like basis. Even if you pay nothing, you have still contributed as you have stopped food going to waste.

Real Junk Food Brighton is currently in an embryonic stage, they serve up fresh crushed juices at the farmers market in Churchill Square (to be replaced by a second pop up café), a pop up café in a church, but they need something more permanent.

They are using crowdfunding to raise the funds, but sadly it has been very illthought through in what they are offering as incentives. One obvious would be a meal when open.

They would have been wiser to use StartJoin or FairCoin, both of which support support community projects.

FairCoin and Robin Hood Hedge Fund are looking for projects like Real Junk Food Brighton to give money to.

Where will it be? They do not say. The obvious location would be in North Laine, as there are lots of visitors, and they would carry away the idea.

I would hope if they serve coffee, they source high quality coffee beans, and employ a skilled barista. Look to Taylor St Baristas.

I would question why the famers market is held in Churchill Square, where it is tacky High Street chains. North Laine would be a far superior location.

Russell Brand has recently opened the Trew Era Cafe in Hoxton (Hackney).

The concept of social enterprises is spreading, grass-roots, community owned and run, serving the needs of the local economy. We now need to see them network with each other. The gift, sharing ecenomy, collaborative commons in action.

Real Junk Food Brighton will not be the first zero-waste restaurant in Brighton. That accolade goes to Silo in North Laine, for which The Guardian had a highly pretentious review.

Pay what you think it is worth is not restricted to restaurants and intercepted food turned into delicious meals. It works in music too. Many of the artists on bandcamp operate on a pay what you think it is worth, with the fans having the option to pay more. And it works, the artists do not get ripped off.

Zero waste supermarket

June 9, 2014

I find annoying, when I go into a supermarket and find everything is shrink-wrapped and overpackaged. One of the worst offenders is M&S who then have the gall to charge 5p for a plastic bag. They claim this goes to environmental charities. It does not, only 1p, and I doubt even that. It is greenwash by M&S, and an opportunity to rip off gullible customers.

And where fruit and vegetable are sold loose, as for example Waitrose or Lidl, why am I forced to use plastic bags, why not paper (which I can recycle on the compost heap)?

One reason why I buy off markets, it is seasonal, cheaper and fresher, and I can pop in a paper bag. At least I could. I notice some stalls are switching to plastic, which is a retrograde step.

Americans produce an unbelievable three pounds of trash every day. I do not produce that in a week, probably not in a month.

It is therefore good news, that a German supermarket Original Unvertpackt has moved to zero waste. The launch of the supermarket has been through crowd funding.

Customers are invited to bring in their own bags and bottles.

I remember Neals Yard Wholefoods, in an old warehouse in Neals Yard in Covent Garden. Everything was in bulk, you shovelled out what you wanted. Freshly ground peanut butter in large jars.

Original Unvertpackt is only a small step in the right direction. We have to recognise an end to growth, an end to the purchasing of worthless stuff, that goes on a one-way trip from mining, sweat production, sitting in the house for six months, then on its way to landfill or recycling.

M&S cynical exercise in greenwash

April 26, 2012
M&S CEO Marc Bolland and Joanna Lumley at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London for the launch of new campaign 'Shwopping'.

M&S CEO Marc Bolland and Joanna Lumley at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London for the launch of new campaign 'Shwopping'.

I listened with growing incredulity to the M&S breathtaking crass hypocrisy and exercise in greenwash on You and Yours BBC Radio 4 this lunchtime.

M&S are shedding crocodile tears at the amount of clothes that are dumped every year in landfill. A billion items of clothing they claim. Their solution is that we take all our unwanted clothes to M&S for recycling, and no doubt replace with new clothes whilst we are there.

Cut out the middle man, take your clothes direct to a charity shop.

Support slow fashion, not fast fast; dress for style, not fashion; buy quality, not rubbish.

Is it necessary to replace what is in a wardrobe every few months with new clothes?

In M&S their food is over-packaged. I suggest we return all our packaging to M&S.

M&S charge 5p for a plastic carrier bag. Read carefully the small print: Only 1p goes to an environmental charity. This a cynical ploy to milk the customer and to distract from their over-packaging.

Why no paper bags in M&S for our loose fruit and vegetables? The bags can then be recycled or composted.

The stuff we buy spends less than six months in our homes before it continues on its one-way linear trip to landfill or incinerator.

The Story of Stuff

M&S compared the recycling of clothes through their stores with the successful recycling of glass bottles! When was the last time anyone took a glass bottle back? We recycle glass, not bottles!

Yes, we need to reduce our waste and energy consumption. We do so by reducing consumption and increasing recycling, not by taking our unwanted clothes to M&S and whilst we are there replacing old for new.

When you donate to charity shops, choose the smaller charities who do not throw away after a couple of weeks what you have taken the trouble to donate. Avoid Oxfam and British Heart Foundation who rip off customers with the prices they charge. Another reason to avoid Oxfam is that they are the partners in this greenwash scheme with M&S to encourage increased consumption.

Are people really this gullible that they fall for a cynical exercise in greenwash?

Shwoping is a slick marketing campaign to encourage easily led fools to empty their wardrobes and run off down to M&S to buy more clothes. Green it is not.

A green campaign, which shwopping claims to be, would encourage slow fashion, to buy quality, to value our clothes, not throw them away.

Shwoping is not sustainable fashion.

Slow fashion’ was coined by Kate Fletcher. It has evolved from slow food, is part of the slow movement.

Do we recycle enough of our clothes?
Disposable clothes
Oxfam rips off its customers (yet again)
M&S launches ‘shwopping’ scheme
Joanna Lumley joins M&S to launch shwopping
Joanna Lumley launches Marks & Spencer’s Shwopping campaign

The Story of Electronics

November 11, 2010

The latest film from the Story of Stuff team focuses on consumer electronics and the problems of waste, recycling and toxic components.

Sales of consumer electronics, particularly mobile phones and computers, have soared in the past two decades, with one billion of the former sold in 2007.

Although Europe and the US have set up e-waste recycling systems, much of the e-waste ends up being illegally exported to less industrialised countries, where the laws to protect workers and the environment are inadaquate or not enforced.

As well as giving an overview of the problems, The Story of Electronics also urges major electronics companies to start taking a stronger lead in making longer-lasting, recyclable and toxic-free products.

Filmmaker and activist Emmanuelle Schick told The Ecologist that the industry should be forced to list the ‘ingredients’ of chemicals in its products, just like for food.

‘I think people in general think electronics are pretty harmless, except for the use of mobile phones, so it would be interesting to see how that would affect people’s relationship to electronics.’

Also see

The Story of Cosmetics

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff

October 9, 2010

In the natural world there is no such thing as waste either in time or space. The output of one process is the input to another.

All loops should be closed. We should either use natural materials that can be reused, recycled or composted; or our manmade materials should parallel the natural world and form closed loops. We should have zero waste. All toxic materials should be eliminated.

All trade should be fairtrade.

Also see

The Story of Cosmetics

Lush Cosmetics – Our Environmental Policy

Lush Cosmetics – Our Environmental Policy

October 8, 2010

In the natural world there is no such thing as waste either in time or space. The output of one process is the input to another.

All loops should be closed. We should either use natural materials that can be reused, recycled or composted; or our manmade materials should parallel the natural world and form closed loops. We should have zero waste. All toxic materials should be eliminated.

All trade should be fairtrade.

Also see

The Story of Cosmetics

Lush Supporting Climate Rush in Liverpool St Station

UK can achieve ‘zero waste’ without incineration

The Story of Stuff